November 9, 2022
Interim Superintendent Message
Dear NPS Families,
Last week, I, together with School Committee member Anping Shen, attended the Massachusetts Association of School Committees and Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents joint conference. The conference theme was "Promoting Equity, Diversity and Inclusion: Constructing the Narrative to Define the Message." Sessions focused on providing superintendents and school committee members with the skills to address issues of equity as leaders in public school districts.
Kathy Lopes, NPS Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion participated on a panel discussion titled “Leading and Implementing Equity with Intentionality'' and led a workshop in the afternoon on “Changing the Narrative: How to Foster an Antiracist Culture in Your School.” The Newton Public Schools has been a leader in promoting this work and it is an important component of our systemwide goals this year.
Other sessions were particularly useful, including an important panel discussion I attended on school safety. At our December 5, 2022 School Committee meeting, we will hear an update on safety in our schools and we will be joined by our City safety partners. Anping was also fortunate to attend several student-led workshops focused on including student voice in our decision-making process.
It was terrific to meet with educators and community leaders from across the Commonwealth and to learn about best practices designed to advance the most important issues in public schools today. We will reflect on how these practices impact our work in the Newton Public Schools this school year.
Kathleen Smith, J.D.
Superintendent Search Update
The superintendent search has entered its “engagement” phase in which the search committee is soliciting feedback and input from the Newton community to help identify and select the next superintendent for our district. Your feedback will assist the School Committee in understanding your perspective as candidates are recruited, screened, and interviewed for the position.
The survey linked below is designed to solicit perceptions of the district and its services to students, staff, and families. Based upon these perceptions, you will also be asked for input on what you consider to be the most effective characteristics for the district's next superintendent. Here is the link:
Newton Superintendent Search Survey - Online (choose your language at the top of the survey)
The survey will be open from November 7 - 21, 2022.
If you require a paper copy of the survey, please download it below in your preferred language. Please print the survey and return it to your student's school.
Please also watch your email for upcoming opportunities to provide feedback via in-person and virtual focus groups. As always, detailed information can be found on the search committee webpage on the district website.
Increase in Respiratory Illnesses and How to Prevent
The Commonwealth, the Northeast and much of the US are seeing increases in respiratory illness in infants and children. Infants and children may be particularly susceptible to seasonal respiratory viral infections during the 2022-2023 fall and winter because they have had limited previous exposure to these respiratory viruses.
The Department of Public Health and the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics want to remind parents and families about steps to take to prevent illness and stay healthy this season:
Vaccinate your children ages 6 months and older against influenza
Vaccinate your children ages 6 months and older against COVID-19
Remember, you can get a COVID-19 vaccine and flu shot at the same time
Practice hand hygiene
Clean high touch surfaces
Keep children home from daycare or school who have fever, especially with a cough
Avoid social gatherings if you or your children are ill
For the full letter from Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatric, visit:
COVID Test Distribution
Over the next few weeks, we will be distributing COVID tests to all students who wish to take them home. The tests were acquired this summer and are due to expire in January.
There is no requirement for testing on specific days nor any requirement that students take home tests. Each school will set up a distribution plan in the coming days.
To check the specific expiration date of the tests you receive, you can visit the iHealth website.
First Phone Meeting Recording
On October 26th, Dr. Catherine Pearlman, author of First Phone: A Child’s Guide to Digital Responsibility, Safety and Etiquette, led an engaging and informative presentation and discussion for Newton families.
If you weren’t able to attend the presentation or you would like to listen to it again, you may view it here:
You can find her book here:
First Phone by Dr. Catherine Pearlman (Amazon link)
Dr. Pearlman also shared some helpful resources including:
Thanks to each of the NPS Middle School PTOs for sponsoring this event!
A reminder that the City is hosting a series of meetings to provide information on the proposed override. The next school-focused meeting is this Thursday, November 10, 2022 at 7:00 p.m. at Countryside Elementary School. (191 Dedham St.) Tours of the building are available at 6:30 p.m.
All past presentations and meeting recordings can be found on this page:
A calendar of meetings is here: Override Meeting Calendar
Cabot/Lincoln-Eliot/Bigelow/Day Feeder Pattern Options
Over the past few weeks, Cabot, Lincoln-Eliot, Bigelow, and Day families have been sharing feedback with the district and with School Committee on the proposed options to adjust the feeder pattern from these elementary schools to the middle schools. Based upon the information shared and the feedback, the timeline for decision-making has been adjusted. Below is the new timeline:
Additional Family Meetings:
November 15, 2022 at 7:00 pm for Cabot families
November 21, 2022 at 8:15 am at Lincoln-Eliot families
School Committee Meetings
November 17, 2022 - School Committee Meeting - Update
December 5, 2022 - School Committee Meeting - Recommendation
December 19, 2022 - School Committee Meeting - Vote
Zoom links for the additional family meetings will be sent by the school principals in the next few days. All other information shared, as well as answers to Frequently Asked Questions, can be found on the Feeder Pattern Option webpage.
ELPAC (English Learner Parent Advisory Council) is a network of English Language Learners (ELLs) and former ELL families districtwide. ELPAC collaborates with schools and the district to improve ELL programs, support integration of new ELLs and their families, and support bilingualism and biculturalism for all families.
The remaining ELPAC Community meeting dates are: December 8, February 9, April 6, and June 8. Meetings will be held at the Ed Center (100 Walnut Street, Newton). Interpretation is available by request.
Contact for NPS ELPAC:
Helpsy bins were placed at 14 school building locations just prior to the start of the school year. In the first three months, the collection bins diverted a total of 55,271 pounds of unwanted textiles from the waste stream and generated $6,079.81 in revenue!
As a reminder, the Massachusetts textile ban went into effect on November 1, 2022. This means that textiles are banned from disposal or transport for disposal in Massachusetts. The textile collection bins help Newton comply with the ban, keep textiles out of the waste stream, and generate revenue to support sustainability initiatives in the schools.
Find out more on the NPS Sustainability webpage.
NECP Building - Almost Done!
From the Mayor’s 10/28 Newsletter:
The new home for the Newton Early Childhood Program (NECP), the City’s integrated pre-school at the former Horace Mann Elementary School building on Watertown Street, is heading toward the finish line. The playground equipment is installed and rubberized surfacing is going in this week. The flooring inside is approximately 70% complete. Landscaping is done, and the exterior of the building is 99% wrapped up. Final paving will be happening in a few weeks. Cubbies are arriving in about 3 weeks, with the rest of the furnishings to follow as the move-in date over the holiday break in December and January fast approaches.
Preschool Developmental Screening
The Newton Public Schools conducts preschool screenings for children ages 3 to 5 years old in an effort to identify children who may have a disability and are in need of special education support. It is designed to review a child’s development and assist in the identification of children who should be referred for further evaluation to determine eligibility for special education services. This is a free and optional service for Newton residents only.
The screenings are conducted monthly starting in the 2022-2023 school year. If you have questions or concerns regarding your child's development and would like to have your child screened, please contact NECP at (617) 559-6050 to schedule an appointment.
Brown Middle School
Last week Brown Middle School peer leaders had their second training session with the Anti-Defamation League. These student leaders are preparing to present a program for their peers that promotes a positive environment, inclusivity and how to be up-standers for one another. Counselors, Kevin Travers and Sam Schneider are their advisors and will continue to lead the group as they plan for these presentations.
Elementary/Middle/High School Positions Open!
Would you like to work for the Newton Public Schools? We are hiring! NPS has open positions for the following:
Special education aides, Behavior Therapists,
Part time early literacy aides
Part time math intervention aides
Instructional Support Staff (substitutes)
Following this link to apply:
Fuel Assistance Applications
The City of Newton Social Services Division is now accepting appointments for Fuel Assistance applications. We recognize families will face increased financial stress due to their heating and utility costs this winter and we are here to help. The image below shows the eligibility guidelines for the Low Income Heating Assistance Program.
Please complete the new intake form (Social Services Intake Form ) or call the social services division at 617-796-1420. We will assist families in completing the applications and talk through other financial resources that may be available.